The future is coming

 

This is the 2017 revised version, original was for 2015

Original text for 2015. This is revised every year.

I have been researching all the advance and history of human knowledge for almost a decade, though I have always been curious and played with the concept since my teens. The result was a very complete database and algorithm to evaluate mankind evolution and predict not a single advance, but the apex of all evolution - the technological singularity

Studies and books on predicting singularity are plenty. Intel once said 2028, Ray Kurtzwel said 2045 in his "Singularity is Near" book (though he is revising it in his last book to "circa 2030~2040"), And my own research have two algorithms that refuse to agree, so I have 2031 and 2037. Surprisingly, most community that talk about the subject are more inclined to agree on the 2038~2045 window, because we are clearly beating all expectations.

But for most people, just saying singularity is coming is kind of useless, it is a hard concept to grasp, specially because it really indeed means "the moment when we evolve past anything we know, and therefore we don't know what comes next" is confusing. But in all my research, I was able to see patterns that are a lot more straightforward to understand, so I decided to give a little emphases on those. It will certainly bring hope and excitement for everyone.

I divided the upcoming advances in two very distinct areas: Raw technological advances, which kind of encompasses everything, and just medical advances, that while still inside technology, have a whole lot more meaning and immediate consequences in our lives. So, here it is, the future. I added a percentage of certainty (which means how accurate I think the date is, not the discovery. All discoveries will happen, but might come sooner or later, thus the certainty index). Note that, specially with medicine, these are mostly when the advance will happen, but not necessarily be tested, approved and distributed to the whole population, so I would add about 5 years on top of medical breakthroughs if you are expecting them to be "widely available to all"

This article was originally written in december 2014 (2015 version), reviews will be posted after the list. Meanwhile, read this for the remarkable advances of 2015 on BBC: 2015: Breakthroughs galore

 

Technology

2017 - Wearable Techs - 90%

As of 2015, Smartwatches are in full throttle to storm the market, with some companies getting to their third iterations. Even copy-cat Apple got their own overpriced gadget on 2015. But a watch that interfaces with your phone is just the start. We should see a lot more being ported to your wrist and even the rest of your body. Microsoft promises a whole new experience with their Hololens, Google will certainly not keep quiet, and Sony already released a glass prototype. We are even nearing direct-to-retina projection. It is almost certain that by 2017 we will see the world completely differently ... literally

2020 - 10 times more energy volume batteries - 80%

One of the biggest - if not the biggest drag on new technologies are the over-obsolete battery life and safety. The best batteries are not safe, and the safe ones are too weak. But don't fret, 2014 saw plenty of new battery technology on the lab, and in two or three years they should be changing the game on how we store energy: eco-friendly batteries, bendable batteries, extremely fast recharge batteries, even extreme capacity. And battery wear should also be past, with rechargeable batteries lasting forever, instead of loosing effectiveness over time.

2022 - Mind/Machine interface - 80%

People have already moved mouse pointers with their minds, and we have prosthetic that can be also used with your mind. 2015 is even looking at feedback-able prosthetic. While mostly for the disabled, these advances will soon make way to human enhancing front, and it shouldn't take long for you to be able to issue simple commands to your smartphone/watch with your mind. I don't even want to imagine privacy issues with that.

2025 - Smart cars everywhere!- 100%

It is a certainty even earlier, but legal issues and bureaucracy is sure to delay its inevitable deployment. Completely automated cars have already moved thousands of kilometers in the whole world, from Google, BMW and Toyota, to other small players. Google even recently updated their version to comply to US laws and try to fasten the deployment of self-driving cars. It shouldn't take long for you to not need to take on the wheel, and even better: perfect cabs which don't scam you.

2025 - The last industrial revolution of 3D printing - 100%

With 3D printers getting more powerful and detailed, with a wider variety of materials, we will soon be able to print pretty much anything (as of 2015, we can even print working human organs!). You might think what is the big deal? Think about the industry, every town can have a small 3D printer facility that prints on-site anything you need. Order online, it automatically gets printed near you, delivered on the same day? do you want more? Industries will fight this advance, but we all know nobody can stop it.

2025 - Artificial Intelligence (just artificial) - 90%

The ultimate advance in the technological singularity is Trans-human intelligence, which is real intelligence, only not human. Before we reach all the way to our replacement species, Artificial Intelligence should be good enough to be everywhere. That means a lot of desk jobs will be gone, but that also means a lot of further technological advances can be done, and humans ... well ... humans need not apply. That will be more of an economics problem than technological

2030 - Trans-Human intelligence - 90%

Our time as a species has come and gone. By 2035 (or 2030, or 2040) we will be replaced by the natural evolution of our species. We might be the ones who nurtured and paved the way for its birth, but we will have no say on what it does from there on. Will anything change? or will everything change? we don't know. The only certainty is: mankind, as we know it, will come to an end, and it will certainly NOT be later than 2050.

2035 - A new paradigm: The singularity - 90%

Humanity reaches full immortality and, allied with science and Trans-Human intelligence, dawns a new age where old science is past and fully comprehended. What comes next is as good as anybody's guess, but the age of man - at least the flesh and meat one, is ended.

 

Medicine

2016 - Ebola Vaccine - 100% - REACHED november 2016.

On late July 2015, a 100% effective vaccine to Ebola was confirmed in more than 2000 people in Africa, stopping the epidemics there. In november 2016, the final vaccine form entered commercial production, scheduled to global distribution on mid-2017. New promising vaccines should pop up soon for Dengue and HIV

2019 - Unified viral testing - 90%

A single drop of blood, and your whole history and current virus inhabitants are known. That is the proposal of  VirScan, which is being tested since 2013 and in 2015 were added to the tools in Africa to quickly detect Ebola in patients. In a few years, probably around 2019, it should be able to detect all kinds of known viruses and be economically available for everybody. It is the end of "not knowing", at least as long as it is a virus, what people have

2020 - The end of Alzheimer - 95%

Yes, it is here, it already exists and people have already been cured. For those with a dear relative with Alzheimer, it is almost too good to be true, but it is. In 2015 the first successfully trials happened, and even better, not only the disease was cured, but the memory and motor loss were reversed! There are still tweaks to be done, and certainly your 5 years of  trials and approvals, but 2020 is a good date to bet on the end of this terrible disease.

2020 - 24/7 life saving monitoring - 100%

A smartwatch can tell if the user flat-lines, some soon can measure glucose and O2 saturation. Several other sensors are already on the way, from brain wave to stress sensors and much, much others. And with the internet all the way already on those devices, it will be trivial for companies to sell services that enable a constant monitoring of your vital signs and trigger alerts and even call emergency all automatically. This should reduce death by accidents, stroke and heart attacks significantly, with prompt help arriving sometimes before the user knows something is wrong.

2020 - Saving drones - 100%

If governments and bureaucracy stop slowing down drone deployment, we should see a fleet of medical/doctor drones everywhere very soon - as in, right now. In late 2014 a remote-controlled AED drone with bi-directional contact was tested to complete success: A person requires emergency, but it will take a few minutes to emergency services get there - except for the drone, that comes flying and lands by your side, and any layman can follow the online doctor instructions and save your life with the emergency kit from the drone, keeping you safe until the real paramedics arrive.

2025 - Asthma cure - 100%

Yes, respiratory constrains like Asthma or Bronchitis have its days counted. A discovery on early 2015 promises a possible cure in 5 years. So let's be sure and say it will be ready by 2025.

2025 - Cancer Cure - 90%

As of 2015, some Cancers like Leukemia have definite cures on trial, and could hit final testing before 2020. Most generic cancers could have a cure by 2020 and being on trial by 2025. By 2030, hardly any kind of cancer will be incurable. The irony? the first treatable and curable cancer is the one that was once thought the hardest to cure (Leukemia)

2025 - Diabetes Cure - 90%

A lot of research and advances by 2015 point to a cure for Diabetes. Scientists have already successfully cured the condition on rats and dogs, and progress is steady. It shouldn't take too long to have a partial cure, but by 2025 we should have a definite one.

2025 - HIV Cure - 95%

One Cancer cure research that uses HIV virus as a payload to kill of Leukemia discovered, by accident, in mid-2015, a T-cell mutation (yes, a cancer cell) that was 100% effective against the HIV. Basically, the cancerous cell mutation made it an HIV killing machine, thwarting the payload against cancer, but revealing it is possible to modify the immune system to kill out HIV. Research on how to manually and in a controllable way to trigger such "super cell" against HIV could bring soon the cure of HIV.

2025 - Physical Deaf and Blindness is cured - 80%

As of 2015, physical deaf is nearly fully cured, but still expensive and experimental, but give it 5 years and it should be mainstream. As for eyesight, things are a little harder, but a lot of improvements specially on stem cells are promising. Complete regrowth and return to functionality of damaged retina could be reality before 2025 .. give the usual 5 years for approval and perfection, and we might have the end of these disabilities at most at 2030.

2025 - Parkinson and other neurological diseases are controlled or cured - 80%

While different from Alzheimer, the research from Alzheimer gave way to a lot of insight on other brain and nervous systems diseases. Parkinson should be curable in 5 to 10 years, ALS might follow suit, and several others too. By 2025, most of these nasties should be at least survivable, which means, victims would gain extra life years to wait for the decisive cure. It is worth noticing that in 2016, the most important gene behind ALS was discovered (thanks to research funded by the "Ice-bucket challenge")

2025 - Dentists are out of work - 75%

Recent research on stem cells and special chemicals that trigger regenerative systems on our teeth might mean your toothpaste will not only clean, but recover and keep your teeth healthy. As of 2015, there are some adverts of special treatments that rebuild tooth, and it shouldn't take long for those to go closer to completely recovering damaged teeth. With the improvements on eliminating bacteria, the causes of decay will also be gone, so ... Dentists, you might be out of work by 2030.

2025 - Replaceable organs - 75%

Stem Cell is every bit important and amazing as promised. New technologies (including 3D printing) have already provided interesting insights on how to grow a brand new organ from a petri dish. Soon, doctors will be able to print (or grow) a liver or kidney with your own DNA, zero chance of rejection. Other organs might follow suit. No more transplant waiting list, you just have to wait a few days for your "new organ" to be ready and replace just like a spare part on a car.

2030 - The end of bacteria - 75%

Advances on a lot of fronts, from new antibiotics in 2015 (after a 30 year hiatus on new discoveries) to gene-therapy and virus-therapy has let to a promising approach on getting rid, once and for all, of bacteria. And what is best, most of these are targeted, so we will be able to destroy the bad bacteria, while leaving the good ones alone.

2030 - The end of senescence - 75%

Other than accidents, murder and illness - all in decline - people die because we get old. We used to think it was a "by design" obsolescence, but it is not. The end of our DNA's are consumed each time a cell multiplies, so to prevent important data being lost, our DNA strains have a "padding" called telomeres.  The problem is: eventually this padding ends, and new cells can't duplicate, we start having to live with old unreplaceable cells, and things only get worse with time. Just by understanding this, we are a whole step close to stop aging, and it might even be sudden, a discovery out of the blue on how to prevent the telomeres from being consumed, or perhaps rebuilding them, and then ... people won't age anymore. Old cells will be replaced by new cells (as in young people) and we will all probably go back to look as good as we looked on our 20's ... except forever.

2040 - Immortality - 75%

After you don't age, and all diseases are curable or eradicated, and emergency attention is seconds away thanks to drones and technologies we might not even know will exist, let alone improvement on safety records (smart cars alone will drop the death rate a lot, no cancer? no diabetis? no bacterias? replaceable organs? well ... immortality). The last step, which is already been discussed, is the possibility to backup your brain, so if the only unreplaceable part of you is damaged, we can still replace it with a brand empty new one and upload you back into it. Cylon style.

Needless to say, when Trans-human intelligence is born around 2040, all of the items on this list will also be achieved.

  • dec 2015 (2016 version) review: No change, added Virscan to 2019.
  • dec 2016 (2017 version) review: Ebola vaccine prediction reached. ANTECIPATED mind-machine interface from 2025 (75%) to 2022 (80%), AGI to 2025 from 2040, Trans-Human Intelligence to 2030 from 2040. DELAYED 10x better batteries (compared to 2015) from 2018 (90%) to 2020 (80%). Added  singularity predictions